Jayson Tatum enters this NBA season with a new sense of stardom — Andscape

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum vacationed in the Cayman Islands just days after losing in the 2022 NBA Finals to celebrate Father’s Day and take his mind off basketball.

Being away from Boston and wearing a bathing suit instead of basketball shorts still couldn’t help him truly escape, as well-meaning NBA fans reminded him of the failed title attempt on sight.

“So, I just wanted to go relax. Long season, clearly,” Tatum told Andscape during a recent NBA season promo shoot in Burbank, Calif. “Spending time with my son and family. Get away from that. Finals were so fresh in my mind.

“And every time we walked out of the room someone would see me and say, ‘Oh, man, we wish you had…’ ‘Good luck next year.’ And it’s still being said today. But it was only three or four days later, so it was really cool.

The three-time NBA All-Star received the 2022 Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP award after averaging 25 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists against the Miami Heat. Tatum also averaged 26.9 points, 8 rebounds and 4.4 assists during the regular season. But in losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games of the Finals, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound offensive output dropped when it mattered most, as he averaged 21.5 points on 36.7 percent shots from the field.

“It was just a learning experience, learning a lesson,” said Tatum, 24. “Maybe do some things differently next time if you get to this point. Obviously, it’s hard to learn a lesson that way, but that’s the way it is…

“It just feeds you. Motivates you to come back to this point.

Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum (right) will play this season without head coach Ime Udoka (left) who was suspended for violating team policies.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

It turned out that Tatum went into the 2022 NBA Finals with a right shoulder injury, and he also revealed to Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks in August that he had a small, undisplaced bone chip in his wrist during two months who was healed entering the NBA Finals. but still susceptible to pain when struck. Tatum told Andscape that his injured wrist did not need surgery this offseason.

“It affected me, but that’s why I never talked about it,” Tatum told Andscape. “I didn’t show people that I was wearing a corset. [off the court] because if I’m there, if you play, then you play. So if you can’t play, then you can’t play. It was June, so everyone was dealing with something. I wasn’t the only guy there who got bumped.

“[Celtics center] Rob [Williams] was damn close to playing on one leg and I know the Warriors had some guys [with] injuries and such, so that’s no excuse. It was just reality.”

Williams is expected to be out four to six weeks after undergoing left knee surgery on September 23. The Celtics also lost new striker Danilo Gallinari to a torn ACL in his left knee while playing for Italy in a FIBA ​​World Cup qualifier in August. There is no timetable for Gallinari’s return.

While the offseason has had its fair share of injury-related challenges for Tatum and the Celtics, the biggest challenge of all for the defending Eastern Conference champions should be the suspension of head coach Ime Udoka.

Udoka was suspended last month for the 2022-23 NBA season after an investigation by an independent law firm found multiple violations of team policies. Sources previously told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Udoka had an intimate relationship with a female franchise staff member. Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla took over on an interim basis.

Tatum said during media day last week that no one from the Celtics told him in advance that Udoka was under investigation. The St. Louis native also said the Udoka news was “a lot to process” and he first heard about it on Twitter.

“It’s hard for me to say if things were handled the right way or if they weren’t because, I guess, for many reasons. I don’t know all the details. I just don’t know,” Tatum said.

Jayson Tatum (right) will be joined by Malcolm Brogdon (left) this season in Boston.

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

As for the roster, the Celtics addressed the point guard position and turnover issues that plagued them in the 2022 NBA Finals with the addition of veteran Malcolm Brogdon via trade. Brogdon averaged 19.1 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds for the Indiana Pacers last season. Boston launched 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart at point guard last season.

Respecting their success, Brogdon said on media day that he would accept any role with Boston. Either way, Tatum is thrilled to add a talented and respected veteran player to the Celtics roster.

“Brogdon brings a level of toughness, a good point guard. Obviously, he could also shoot and defend. So we definitely improved,” Tatum said.

Tatum and the Celtics franchise and fanbase also enter the season with heavy hearts following the death of legend Bill Russell.

The five-time NBA MVP died at age 88 on July 31. Russell won 11 championships as a Celtics star from 1956 to 1959. The NBA’s first black head coach is inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach. Russell was also a renowned civil rights leader who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2011. The NBA retired Russell’s No. 6 league-wide, and every player will wear a black No. 6 patch. on his jersey in the next season.

“I met him many times and knew a lot more about him once I got in the league, and obviously with the Celtics, than before, just with my age and my youth,” Tatum told Andscape. “But I understand what he meant for our country and how much he meant for basketball. I’m happy to see how the NBA honors him, his life and his legacy.”

Tatum is entering his sixth NBA season, is the face of the Celtics, won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and has been seen on social media this offseason with rap icon Jay -Z, famed comedian-actor Kevin Hart and has been romantically linked to R&B star Ella Mai.

Even so, Tatum believes playing in the NBA Finals is why he’s become so popular around the world, from Boston to the Cayman Islands.

“If I was easy to recognize, then it’s magnified a thousand fold since I played in the finals because those are the finals,” Tatum said. “Everybody, even if you don’t watch the regular season, you watch the finals and [read] all the stories and headlines, and we were the only two teams playing. So, yeah, a lot more people know me now.

Marc J. Spears is the Senior NBA Writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.

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